Livi deservedly booked their place in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup, although they left it late to come from behind and see off League One leaders Raith Rovers 3-1 at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
The visitors had threatened to cause an upset when John Baird struck midway through the first half but a brace of Stevie Lawless penalties, either side of a Lyndon Dykes effort, in the final 13 minutes steered the Lions safely into the last 16.
Gary Holt made three changes to his starting line-up from the 2-0 win over Hibs before the winter break as Ryan Schofield came in for his debut between the sticks in place of the departed Matija Sarkic. Ciaron Brown also made his second bow for the Lions, replacing Jack McMillan, while Aymen Souda came in for Keaghan Jacobs.
Livi looked a little rusty in the opening exchanges, although they did go close to taking the lead on seven minutes when Steve Lawson’s corner was headed back across goal by Jon Guthrie but Souda slipped as he was shooting and could only send his effort wide. They came even closer ten minutes later when Lawless fed the ball out wide to Lawson and his low ball across goal found Dykes who saw his effort come back off the post.
The Lions were stunned on 22 minutes as the visitors took the lead when a corner from the left was flicked on and Baird was left in acres of space to hook a fine, overhead finish past Schofield from close range. There was a good response from Livi, though, and they came close again six minutes later when Dykes’ long throw found the head of Ricki Lamie but he powered his header wide.
Livi cut Rovers open with a fine counter attack on 31 minutes when Dykes won a header and played in Lawless who, in turn, played Scott Pittman through on goal but he took one too many touches and the Raith defence was able to get back and block. Another fine passing move seven minutes later ended with Souda playing a smart one-two with Pittman before firing an effort straight at Ross Munro. Lamie then found space on the left on 44 minutes before crossing for Dykes who spun smartly on the penalty spot but saw his effort saved by Munro as the Lions went in at the break behind.
Half-time: Livingston 0-1 Raith Rovers
The Lions were well on top in the early stages of the second half but without really creating too much and Gary Holt made his first change, Chris Erskine coming on for Craig Sibbald, just after the hour to try and find the missing spark.
Rovers’ Dylan Tait picked up a yellow card on 68 minutes for delaying a Livi throw-in before Lawson followed suit four minutes later for a foul on Tony Dingwall. Livi then made their second change soon after as Scott Robinson replaced Lamie.
Having struggled to find a way past the stubborn Rovers defence in the second half, the Lions were gifted a way back into the match on 75 minutes when Iain Davidson misjudged a header in the box and thrust out an arm to try and control the ball, leaving referee Alan Newlands with little option but to point to the spot. Lawless stepped to send Munro the wrong way from 12 yards, slotting into the bottom left hand corner.
After trailing for so long, Livi suddenly found themselves in front barely 60 seconds later as sloppy play from the Raith defence was seized upon by Robinson and he played in Dykes who curled a fine, first-time effort past Munro from the edge of the box. Marvin Bartley then picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ross Matthews nine minutes from time before McMillan replaced Souda in Livi’s final change shortly after.
The Lions were handed the chance to seal the victory in added time as they were awarded another penalty kick, this time when Chris Erskine was tripped as he looked set to shoot. Lawless again sent Munro the wrong way, this time finding the bottom right corner from the spot.
That killed off any hopes Raith had of a comeback as the Lions comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to secure a fifth round trip to Inverness.
Full-time: Livingston 3-1 Raith Rovers
Livingston: Schofield, Brown, Guthrie, Lamie (Robinson 73), Lawson, Bartley, Pittman, Sibbald (Erskine 64), Lawless, Souda (McMillan 80), Dykes
Subs not used: Stewart, Jacobs, Crawford, Tiffoney
Goals: Lawless (77 & 90 pens), Dykes (78)
Raith Rovers: Munro, Miller, MacDonald, Davidson, Benedictus, Dingwall (Bowie 79), Hendry, Mathews, McKay, Tait (Vitoria 88), Baird (Anderson 76)
Subs not used: Thomson, Mendy, Watson, Smith
Goals: Baird (22)
Referee: Alan Newlands
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photo Album: Rae Irvine